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Water restrictions

Water restrictions - click on town to see details

The following water restrictions will be enforced in the Central Highlands with regards to watering of private lawns and gardens. These restrictions are implemented under the Drought Management Plan of 2009. (Note: Triggers and restriction levels are on pages 54-61).

The Queensland Government also has some tips for using water wisely.

Update 11 March 2019 – Emerald, Blackwater and Rolleston are now on level 2 water restrictions – please click on the name of the town below to view the restriction details. See media release.

Got a question about water restrictions? Scroll down the page to our new FAQs.

  • Emerald, Blackwater and Rolleston - Level 2

    Updated 11 March 2019: The level in the dam connected to the water scheme that supplies Emerald, Blackwater and Rolleston has reached the level to trigger level 2 water restrictions. See media release.

    The guide for level 2 water restrictions is:

    • Lawn areas must not be watered at any time.
    • Garden beds and shrubbery:
      • Sprinklers must not be used at any time.
      • Hand-held hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
      • Micro-spray and drip systems fitted with timers may only be used between 7.00 pm and 8.00 am on certain days:
        • On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered houses.
        • On Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays for even-numbered houses.

    More information can be found in this document.

    Information about all water restriction levels, plus commercial restrictions is in this document.

    Note: These restrictions apply to treated town water and do not extend to grey (recycled) water or tank water.

  • Capella - Level 2

    Updated 14 December 2018: The level in the dams that supply water to Capella reached the  level to trigger level 2 water restrictions. The guide for level 2 water restrictions is:

    • Sprinklers must not be used at any time.
    • Hand-held hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    • Micro-spray and drip systems fitted with timers may only be used between 7.00 pm and 8.00 am
      • On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered houses
      • On Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays for even-numbered houses.
    • Lawn areas must not be watered at any time.

    More information, including extra restrictions for pools, fountains and businesses use can be found in this document.

    Note: These restrictions apply to treated town water and do not extend to grey (recycled) water or tank water.

  • Anakie, Bluff, Comet, Duaringa, Dingo, Rubyvale, Sapphire and Springsure – Level 0
    • No sprinklers on Mondays.
    • Odd-numbered houses – Sprinklers allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, between the hours of 7.00 pm and 9.00 am only.
    • Even-numbered houses – Sprinklers allowed Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, between the hours of 7.00 pm and 9.00 am only.
    • Attended hand held hoses permitted at any time.

    More information, including extra restrictions for pools, fountains and businesses use can be found in this document.

  • Tieri – Level 0
    • No sprinklers on Mondays
    • West of Malvern Avenue – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between the hours of 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm.
    • East of Malvern Avenue – Wednesday, Friday and Sunday between the hours of 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm.
    • Attended hand-held hoses permitted at any time.

    More information, including extra restrictions for pools, fountains and businesses use can be found in this document.

Updated 11 March 2019: The level in the dam connected to the water scheme that supplies Emerald, Blackwater and Rolleston has reached the level to trigger level 2 water restrictions. See media release.

The guide for level 2 water restrictions is:

  • Lawn areas must not be watered at any time.
  • Garden beds and shrubbery:
    • Sprinklers must not be used at any time.
    • Hand-held hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    • Micro-spray and drip systems fitted with timers may only be used between 7.00 pm and 8.00 am on certain days:
      • On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered houses.
      • On Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays for even-numbered houses.

More information can be found in this document.

Information about all water restriction levels, plus commercial restrictions is in this document.

Note: These restrictions apply to treated town water and do not extend to grey (recycled) water or tank water.

Updated 14 December 2018: The level in the dams that supply water to Capella reached the  level to trigger level 2 water restrictions. The guide for level 2 water restrictions is:

  • Sprinklers must not be used at any time.
  • Hand-held hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
  • Micro-spray and drip systems fitted with timers may only be used between 7.00 pm and 8.00 am
    • On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered houses
    • On Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays for even-numbered houses.
  • Lawn areas must not be watered at any time.

More information, including extra restrictions for pools, fountains and businesses use can be found in this document.

Note: These restrictions apply to treated town water and do not extend to grey (recycled) water or tank water.

  • No sprinklers on Mondays.
  • Odd-numbered houses – Sprinklers allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, between the hours of 7.00 pm and 9.00 am only.
  • Even-numbered houses – Sprinklers allowed Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, between the hours of 7.00 pm and 9.00 am only.
  • Attended hand held hoses permitted at any time.

More information, including extra restrictions for pools, fountains and businesses use can be found in this document.

  • No sprinklers on Mondays
  • West of Malvern Avenue – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between the hours of 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm.
  • East of Malvern Avenue – Wednesday, Friday and Sunday between the hours of 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm.
  • Attended hand-held hoses permitted at any time.

More information, including extra restrictions for pools, fountains and businesses use can be found in this document.

Water Restrictions - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do we need water restrictions?

    We are imposing water restrictions so that we can stretch our security of water supply out as far as we can considering the worst-case scenario.

  • We've had some rain now, does that mean water restrictions will be relaxed?

    It was fantastic to get some rain on the weekend of 16/17 March and it will certainly be a great relief to gardeners and people concerned about their lawns. However, while it rained throughout the catchment, there was not enough rain to significantly alter the level of the Fairbairn Dam and level 2 water restrictions will remain.

  • How is the level of water restriction determined?

    The level of Fairbairn Dam near Emerald is used as an indicator for water restrictions because it is connected to the Nogoa Mackenzie water scheme that Emerald, Blackwater, Bluff and Tieri rely on for their water supply.

    Rolleston gets its water from the Comet River. It’s water restrictions are determined by the capacity of the Ring Tank.

    Capella is supplied with water from three sources – a system of bores, surface water runoff, water that is harvested from Capella Creek during times of flood flows and  from a drought relief pipeline that was constructed from Tieri. Its restrictions are determined by the capacity of the water storage facilities.

    More detailed information about where the water comes from for towns in the Central Highlands can be found on pages 5-9 of the Drought Management Plan.

  • What is the current level of the Fairbairn Dam?

    As at the 15 March 2019, the Fairbairn Dam was at a historic low level of 11.6%. You can check the current level of the dam by visiting the Sunwater website.

  • How does council get its water?

    Every year on 1 July, the council is allocated an amount of water to use to supply the community from the Fairbairn Dam by SunWater.

  • If I pay rates, don't I have the right to use water?

    Owners of property connected to the water supply pay an annual charge and a consumption charge.

    The annual charge is the cost for council to provide water to the property whether or not any water is actually used.

    The consumption charge is calculated from the amount of water actually used at the property.

  • How important is the community water supply?

    Supplying water for people to use is what is referred to as ‘high priority’. Other high priority water users are industry that is vital to the economy of the state and region—employs a lot of people and earns money for the state—such as coal mines.

  • Why didn't council implement restrictions earlier?

    Most of the region has been on level ‘0’ restrictions for many years, which has limited outdoor water use to alternate days. The council’s drought management plan sets out the triggers for the next level of restrictions based on the level of the Fairbairn Dam.

  • Where do I find out what the water restrictions mean for me?

    To see what restriction is in place for your town and what those restrictions mean click on the tab above.

  • Am I an odd or even numbered property?

    Whether you are an ‘even’ or ‘odd’ numbered property influences your watering days.

    Property addresses are categorised as ‘even’ if:

    • The number of the property within the street is an even number. If you live in a unit, it is the number of your unit block that counts, not the number of your unit. E.g. 4 Simon Street or Unit 3/14 Simon Street.
    • There is no allocated street number and the property’s lot number is an even number. E.g Lot 4 Simon Road.
    • The property address includes more than one street number and the first number is even. E.g. 4 – 7 Simon Road.

    The same guidelines apply to categorising ‘odd-numbered’ properties (swap the word ‘even’ for the word ‘odd’).

  • What is council doing to conserve water?

    The council began reducing its water use on public parks and gardens from November 2018.

    All public gardens are subject to level 2 water restrictions.

    Non-active playing surfaces are not being watered.

    Active playing surfaces are subject to level 2 water restrictions.

    A water use monitoring system has been implemented requiring monthly water-use reports to be submitted to council for each facility being watered.

     

  • What about the Emerald Botanic Gardens?

    The Emerald Botanic Gardens is a public park of regional significance. It is enjoyed by hundreds of people every day and is a wonderful oasis for residents and tourists. As such, the botanic gardens, which is watered with raw water from the Nogoa River, will have watering reduced in some parts, but will be maintained in the best condition possible given the circumstances.

  • What will happen to people who do the wrong thing and don't stick to the water restrictions?

    There will be a ‘grace’ period where we will focus on education rather than compliance. If we become aware of anyone that is not adhering to the water restrictions, they will receive a letter with a reminder of what the water restriction rules are.

  • Can I report someone that is watering outside the watering hours?

    If you feel comfortable, you could help the person by politely advising them that a water restriction is in place. The person may not yet fully understand the restrictions and what is required of them.

    Our community needs to work together to conserve water, so it’s okay to discuss it with your friends, family and neighbours, if it’s done in a supportive manner.

    If you are uncomfortable approaching the person, you can report the activity to council by phoning 1300 242 686.

    Enforcement can only be carried out if we have evidence that the breach is occurring. A green lawn or the hearsay of a neighbour is not enough evidence for council to take action.

  • When will we go to level 3 restrictions?

    When the level of the Fairbairn Dam reaches 10%.

  • What's more important, a coal mine or a town?

    They are both equally important. Coal mines employ many people who live in the nearby towns. Without the town water there would be no people to work in the mines and without the mines there would be many less people to live in the town. This is why council and industries that share the water work closely together to make sure the water supply is secure.

  • What are industries like mining and cotton farming doing to conserve water?

    Water supply to industries and crop farming are managed by Sunwater.

    Sunwater works closely with their customers, including council, industries and farmers, to carefully manage water allocation to support ongoing water security and business confidence.

    Remember, these companies and their employees are a part of our community too and recognise the need to conserve water.

  • What is the fine for breaching the water restrictions?

    If you don’t follow water restriction guidelines you could be fined $391 for each breach.

    However, we understand that residents may not immediately understand the water restrictions, so the first breach will attract only a warning.

    The consequences aren’t just financial however – water is a precious resource and it is in our community’s best interest to conserve it.

  • How can I keep my lawn alive?

    Lawns are quite resilient and will become green again after a shower of rain, even if they appear yellow or brown.

    However, during periods of drought, weeds seem to thrive,  so you may need to keep on top of them.

    Lawn care experts recommend continuing to mow your lawn during dry periods, to control weed spread and reduce seeding. Make sure your blade setting isn’t too low and do it in the morning to reduce the amount of dust.

    There is some good information about using grey water on lawns here.

  • How many water restriction levels are there?

    There are five water restriction levels – 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the Central Highlands local government area.

  • Do you need to have a sign on front fence if you are watering lawns with grey water or tanks?

    It would certainly be a good idea to place a sign on your property that indicates if you are using an alternative source of water in your garden or on you lawn.

  • Why is council still watering sporting fields?

    Non-active fields–those that are not being used are not allowed to be watered under level 2 restrictions.

    In the interests of safety, active sporting fields–those being used to play sport–can be watered with irrigation systems between 8.00am and 10.00am and 8.00pm and 10.00pm and with hand-held hoses just before the start of a game.

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